NCAA Tournament Presser: Larry Krystowiak

The Utah head coach talked to the media on the eve of the Utes' first round NCAA tournament game...

Larry Krystowiak, Utah

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Good luck. We're joined by Utah head coach. Coach, first an opening statement, then we'll open the floor for questions.

COACH KRYSTKOWIAK: Just fire away with questions (laughter). We're excited to be here, feel fortunate to be a part of what I think is the best sporting event of the year, the next month. It's on and we're ready to rock and roll.

Q. Describe your emotions or thoughts as you pulled up to the venue here bringing the University of Utah program to the NCAA tournament.
COACH KRYSTKOWIAK: Well, it's a little bit surreal. I think maybe some of those emotions will strike me tomorrow. We're still in a pretty high-intensity period with the practice, the shootaround, a lot of things. Stephen F. Austin presents a lot of issues. It's not a typical team when it comes to a scouting report, but they present obstacles on both sides of the ball. May have been as in-depth of a scout as we've possibly had all year in a short period of time. I haven't been caught up in too much of the emotion and the soft side of this thing. It's been more of the meat and potatoes, trying to get this thing ready to go. We're within 24 hours now. It's getting closer. Haven't had a chance to assess it or think about the emotional things. That happened a little bit on Selection Sunday. Lasted for about 30 seconds when I saw our team on the board. Had a little emotional moment for about 30 seconds or a minute, the magnitude of seeing those guys in our TV room. Then it went into preparation time, time to watch some film and try to figure out a way we could beat the Lumberjacks.

Q. You came to this tournament coaching Montana. Can you relate to Stephen F. Austin, the emotion involved in that for those teams?
COACH KRYSTKOWIAK: A little bit. To be honest with you, I haven't seen ourselves -- I never thought of ourselves as an underdog before. I'm not thinking of ourselves as a favorite right now. The number thing, I realize you got to start with 68 and place numbers on everybody, but I'm feeling like we need to fight and scratch, like back in the days when we were at Montana. So it feels the same to me. It's very much survival time of year. Everybody in this tournament, 1 through 66 now, short two teams, has a story to tell. Whatever that story might be, it's interesting. But I think, you know, it's far more important to get caught up in where we are and what it is we can control and not think too much about where other teams are, where some of these seeds lie.

Q. Jordan's shooting stats are kind of a contrast when you win or lose. Do you look at him as a barometer on how your offense is working?
COACH KRYSTKOWIAK: To beat a Stanford, we need to have multiple guys play well. I think you saw that. Jordan was one of the key components. This time of year especially, in order to advance, we're going to have to have guys rise to the occasion. It seems like for the most part Delon has been there pretty consistent. We've had a lot of ups and downs from everybody else is where the situation lies. Maybe it was as good a game as I've seen Jordan play. Then we turned around and had the other end of the spectrum. It's a challenge for him. He's typically pretty good when he bounces back. I think that's an indication of a better team and maybe some more maturity. That stuff is tolerable when you have young kids on your team. I'm hoping now with some of those juniors, the upperclassmen on our roster, that we can bring more of a presence. There's no doubt, if you look at our wins and our better games, it's not always Jordan. It's just bringing that other third or fourth guy into the mix. So there's some pressure on everybody. That question was posed to me early in the week. Who do we need to step up? I don't really care who it is, but we need to have a couple guys beyond the usual suspects that are going to rise up here to the occasion.

Q. If I remember correctly on Friday, most of Jordan's missed shots were from the perimeter. Can you do things to get him going otherwise if the perimeter isn't working?
COACH KRYSTKOWIAK: Well, we try to. There were a couple of threes. There were in and around the basket shots that he missed which is where he came through against Stanford on Thursday night. But we can't live and die at the three-point line. Some of those opportunities, when they're presented to you, you have to make them. I thought that was one of the highlights with Jordan's game against Stanford, was he got to the rim. He's a bigger three. He has been for two years been an undersized four man. Maybe where you made a little hay as a stretch four man, now it's time to use some of your strength and size to get in near the basket. That's been part of our process this year. I think with some of his successes, some of the games he plays better in, you'll see a correlation with him getting in and around the hoop. Those things are built into our offense. It's just a matter of finishing the play when it presents itself.


Scout CBK Top Stories